Monday, February 06, 2006

The NSA Hearings - at times both unbelievable and infuriating

First off, I find it incredible that Congress is holding NSA hearings and that we can all see them on CSPAN. I think they would be a lot better off letting people like Goss, Negroponte and Gonzales testify in a closed session...but then I guess the Democratic Senators wouldn't be able to put on a show by asking questions like "Can the President suspend Posse Comitatus?" What kind of question is that Senator Feinstein? Gonzales responded appropriately by saying that he was there to discuss the Terrorist Surveillance program and not some punch of hypothetical know, the President trying to creat propaganda by covertly trying to affect political processes, media or policy. Unbelievable.

As Senator Sessions said a few minutes later "The world is hearing this" and people should not be casually suggesting that the President and Attorney General are lying and conducting terrorist investigations in a free-wheeling, willy nilly matter. People who are fired up about this don't seem to understand that it is about terrorism. No one in the NSA cares if I talk to someone in Spain about how much it snowed in Ohio or how I'm not thrilled that the Steelers won the Superbowl. And really, I shouldn't care if they did care. Because what if my friend in Spain turned out to be a Terroist and I didn't know it. American foreign and domestic policies don't turn on individual conversations. No one care. What the NSA cares about is protecting us and not just being a super snoopy big brother.

UPDATE: I just saw that John Podhoretz had this to say about the hearings:
...including one about whether the president can, on his own initiative, engage in illegal propaganda activities inside the United States. She cites statute 502K-12 subsection ABCD (well, not actually, but that's what it sounded like). When Attorney General Gonzales, properly considering himself sandbagged by an issue involving a statute in the U.S. code having nothing whatsoever to do with the case at hand, protests that he does not want to give an uninformed answer to a complex question, Sen. Feinstein announces, "I don't want to argue with you," and then goes right on to insist that of course the president would be tempted to suspend many civil liberties. Bad form, Senator. Rude and unjust. God forbid you should actually listen when Gonzales attempts to offer a reasoned answer to your outrageous, DailyKos-level question.

As evidenced from my first paragraph above, I couldn't say it better myself :)